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5 of the best expedition cruise lines for solo travellers

Travel Advice
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Expedition cruising is a fantastic choice for solo travellers, giving you the chance to visit the world's most remote and exciting destinations on board a small, sociable ship with like-minded travellers and expert guides.

All of our expedition partners offer a welcoming atmosphere for adventurous travellers, but there are a few that really stand out as being particularly well suited for those travelling solo. Here are our top five recommendations:

1. Silversea Expeditions

Silversea's varied expedition fleet offers a fantastic amount of choice for solo travellers. The brand new Silver Origin has been purpose-built for sailing the Galapagos, treating just 100 guests to the most luxurious experience of any vessel sailing the islands. Silver Explorer caters to just 140 guests, with a focus on polar travel, and the larger Silver Cloud, formerly part of Silversea's 'classic' fleet, operates a range of itineraries including both cold and warm water expeditions for 260 guests (limited to 200 in the polar regions).

Silversea's low single supplement policy for guests travelling on their classic cruises is extended to these expedition vessels, with solo supplements of between 10% and 25% often available on selected sailings. When travelling with Silversea you can expect an ultra-luxury experience on board spacious small ships, with a hint of Italian style-hospitality, and a cosmopolitan and sophisticated passenger mix makes meeting fellow travellers easy. There is also a welcome Champagne reception for those travelling independently aboard every voyage.

Solo traveller on board Silversea's Silver Cloud

2. Quark Expeditions

Polar specialist Quark Expeditions has been operating for nearly 30 years, chartering ships for voyages in the Arctic and Antarctica, with their first ever new-build vessel, Ultramarine, due to join the fleet soon. Solo cabins are available on board Ocean Diamond, and you can also avoid paying a single supplement when taking a twin cabin for sole use with Quark's request-share programme, which matches solo travellers of the same gender who are willing to share a room. Should a roommate not be found then the single supplement is waived, so it's a risk-free way to save for adventurers who travel solo. Call us to find out which sailings are part of the programme.

Quark Expeditions - Solo traveller in the Arctic

3. Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten's fleet ranges in size from 318 to 628 guests, operating two distinct programmes. Their Norwegian Coastal service has linked towns and villages along Norway's west coast for nearly 130 years, carrying mail, passengers and vital supplies. More recently, Hurtigruten have launched an expedition programme travelling further afield, to destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and Svalbard.

Hurtigruten's newest ships, MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen, are the first in a new generation of pioneering hybrid-powered vessels, offering a more sustainable way to explore the polar regions. These ships carry 530 guests, limited to 500 in polar waters, which is relatively large for an expedition vessel, allowing Hurtigruten the flexibility to offer 0% single supplements on a number of sailings, usually for a limited booking window. Call us for details of their current offers.

Hurtigruten - MS Fram in South Georgia

4. Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad have an excellent reputation in the expedition cruise sector, as well as a long-standing partnership with National Geographic, and travel to destinations including the Arctic, Antarctica, Alaska, the Galapagos, Central America, the Amazon and Baja California. Their ships accommodate between 48 and 148 guests, and are packed full of tools for exploration, including zodiacs, sea kayaks, underwater cameras, onboard naturalists and, on some, a National Geographic photographer.

The atmosphere on is sociable and welcoming, with a shared spirit of adventure among the predominantly American clientele. There are nine dedicated single cabins on board the National Geographic Endeavour II, which cruises year-round in the Galapagos, and Lindblad also run a very limited cabin share programme, where you pay the per person double occupancy fare even if the cruise line isn't able to find a roommate to share with you. This is usually only offered on less popular voyages, such as ocean crossings where the ships are repositioning from one area to another; please call us for a full list of sailings.

Single traveller kayaking in Alaska with Lindblad Expeditions

5. Pandaw River Expeditions

Pandaw's elegant colonial-style vessels travel the rivers of Southeast Asia, allowing travellers to discover the everyday life of the communities that live alongside the water. Destinations include the Irrawaddy and Chindwin in Myanmar (Burma); the Lower Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia; the Red River and Halong Bay in northern Vietnam; the Upper Mekong in Laos and China; and the most recent addition to their programme, the Ganges and Brahmaputra in India.

Pandaw's fleet of traditional ships, hand-finished in brass and teak by traditional craftsmen, range from the small to the very small, carrying between 10 and 48 guests, which creates an atmosphere more like a group tour than a cruise. Pandaw offer cabins with no single supplement on a wide selection of itineraries and departure dates, giving solo travellers the chance to visit breath-taking destinations in the space and comfort of a twin room at no extra cost.

RV Pandaw 2 in Myanmar
Alex Loizou
Meet the author

Alex is Director of Sales & Marketing at Mundy Adventures

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